Saturday, November 22, 2014

Chatty Toddler

One of the best things about having a toddler is they start to communicate with you!

I am continuously amazed at what Vander understands of what adults say. We can ask him to do simple tasks, like pick something up or throw something away. We can ask him to pick between two options or whether or not he wants to do something. We keep our sentences simple but I feel he understands anything we tell him or say to him.

Vander can repeat most words you say. The other morning I told him he was getting Crispix for breakfast and he said "Crispix" to himself several times out loud. I love how he whispers words he isn't quite comfortable with yet! When he was learning "purple" he would said it really quiet, and now he says in a normal voice.

I guess the average 18 month old says around 40 words and we are right on track! Words he says on his own, without anyone saying them first:

  1. Hi
  2. Bye bye
  3. More
  4. Papa
  5. Momma
  6. Daddy
  7. Dog
  8. Arf (dog noise)
  9. Baa
  10. Maa (goat noise)
  11. Quack
  12. Oink
  13. Boo
  14. Hippo
  15. Hop
  16. Neigh
  17. "Who" owl noise
  18. Roar
  19. Agua (he says the Spanish word for water since his current and prior teacher are Hispanic)
  20. Ball
  21. Car
  22. Light (still with a bit of a d instead of l)
  23. Yellow
  24. Purple
  25. Spots (one of his stuffed animals)
  26. Out
  27. On
  28. Up (up also means down if he is already up)
  29. I do (this one has started coming up a lot! Not surprising with an ambitious toddler)
  30. Help
  31. "No no no no no"
  32. Yes
  33. Please (pronounced like "peace") plus the sign for please
  34. Boat
  35. Trash, but sounds more like "bash"
  36. Bear
  37. Hot
  38. Sock
  39. Shoe
  40. Home
  41. Cracker
  42. Snack

He won't sing songs yet but he loves to hear us sing to him and he always claps and cheers at the end of songs he knows. Dylan and I both practice the alphabet with him and he is making the sounds really well! For example I will say "'A' sounds like 'Ah ah'" and he will repeat the "ah" part. He is even starting to know what comes next! Not quite the real alphabet but close.

It is so exciting to see him learn! You can tell he loves talking too. He gets frustrated when you don't know what words he is saying.

I am sure he will continue to amaze us!



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Harry Potter Themed Gender Reveal

We found out we are having a boy last weekend at an epic Harry Potter Themed gender reveal party we threw.

I had so much fun planning the party and it worked great to distract me from me impatience of finding out the sex of Baby Otley #2. Dylan and my family thought I was a little nuts for being so into it...

Unfortately I did not take as many pictures as I would have liked and they are just with my iPhone. At least it will give you an idea of the party and hopefully help share some ideas with other nerds out there.

To me, the event was an excuse to throw a Harry Potter party and it also just happened to be my gender reveal. I thought I had a pretty good balance of both aspects if you keep my order of priorities in mind.

(The majority of my ideas came through Pinterest and google, nothing specific so I am not citing sources)

For decorations, people entered the party by walking through the brick wall that is Platform 9 3/4. To make this I stamped an old sponge in watery red paint on a twin sheet. (Only $5.50 for the sheet and paint at Walmart!)

We of course had floating candles. I knew I wanted to do this a couple weeks ago so I bought a pack of LED candles for our Halloween pumpkins and the party. I then using fishing string, tape and pushpins to hang up to the ceiling. The only pictures I took were when Vander was checking them out. He literally went "WOAH!" at every single candle, twice. It was adorable.

I wrote "The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir beware" on the bathroom mirrors in red marker.

I had "fleeing spiders" (aka repurposed Halloween decorations) who were fleeing from the basilisk.

At a gender reveal you generally do some form of "voting" for which gender you want or think the baby is. You can have everyone come wearing pink or blue or they can be given a blue or pink pin to wear. Thursday before the party I came up with the genius idea to do scarves for voting. I went to the fabric store and bought red and silver houndstooth micro fleece fabric and blue and gold of the same (the closet colors and designs to Harry Potter I could find!). I then cut it all up into scarves for everyone to wear. I out the baskets of each color under a sign about how to vote.

The scarves were also next to my "Old Wives Tales" of what signs and symptoms generally are associated with which gender during pregnancy. I ended up being split down the middle so you can see how reliable those old wives tales are!

I also had a place to put in name suggestions. It was actually pretty fun since I read them all out loud toward the end of the party and we actually did put a couple on our list.

Since I wanted to make it worth everyone's while to come over to our house to simply find out the gender of our next baby, I decided to put together a Harry Potter type feast. Dylan worked like a happy house elf putting it all together. Our menu included butternut squash soup, London broil, roasted potatoes and vegetables, witch hat crescent rolls, and onion tarts. Beverage options were adult pumpkin juice (pumpkin beer), alcoholic or nonalcoholic butter beer or wine (a red or white "Middle Sister" since this is intended to be our middle child or "Spellbinder" to match the magic theme). Everyone seemed to really enjoy it all! We set up three long tables since that felt the most like the Great Hall and was the only practical way to fit that many people!

After dinner came the cake and cupcakes, which was how we all found out the gender! My friend Kelly asked if she could bake for us and we passed her the sealed envelope the day of our appointment so she could make our cakes. The cake was food coloring in the batter with fondant so you couldn't peek and the cupcakes had a filling of the appropriate color. We passed out cupcakes and told everyone they had to wait for us to cut the cake.

After cake we played quidditch beer pong! It follows the same basic rules as beer pong except also has quidditch hoops in the middle that give you double cups but you are allowed to block a ball (quaffel) thrown through a hoop. Also, you have to use a special snitch ball for the victory cup.
The Snitch
Team Hufflepuff
Team Ravenclaw
Team Slytherin
The whole event was a success! We did have some non-Harry Potter fans, but they still had fun. A good group of us were guessing the scenes from the music soundtracks I had playing... I think everyone enjoyed being part of such a fun moment of ours.

I definitely hope Vander or any or all of my kids are into Harry Potter so I can throw some awesome Harry Potter birthday parties in the future. There are a lot more ideas out there I didn't do!

However, it was really hard for me to wait three days for the gender. And given that we are currently only planning one more kid, I don't foresee wanting to wait to find out the gender or being willing to find out in front of a bunch of other people! We will see when the time comes.

So glad I had the party this time and I thought the theme was excellent!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Baby Otley #2 Gender Is...

A Boy! We are TEAM BLUE again!

We are super excited! I certainly can't complain about a future with two little mamma's boys! And Vander will love having a brother.

While we know having another boy puts the pressure on Dylan for the next baby and I am sad I don't get to go shopping for all sorts of girly stuff, there are so many great things we are so excited about having another boy!

We haven't done a full analysis or consideration of what all we may need to buy for a new baby, but for the most part we should have everything and just need some furniture and decorations for the new baby room. So that will save us a significant amount of money, not buying new things and not really needing to buy new clothes.
Potty shot! The baby is on the right side with legs open to the left and you can see in between the legs...

I have been thinking the last couple weeks that life would be so adorable with a mini Vander. Even in the likely scenario that little brother looks nothing like Vander, he will still be a little Vander shadow for a good couple years.

I was telling Dylan that I am so screwed, since I can absolutely picture Vander and his brother causing all sorts of trouble telling me it was because they love me and they will totally melt my heart. They will be making mud pies in the living room and saying "But mommy, we wade them for YOU!" Just thinking of their adorableness brings happy tears to my eyes.
The box is checked "Boy"!

It makes it feel so much more real now that we know what we are having! I am starting to really think about how Vander will be as a big brother. It is hard to tell since he grows and develops so much each month in terms of his communication skills and what he understands from us. We have been telling him more about the fact we are having a baby and he will have a sibling, but he doesn't get it yet. Only about four more months!

On to the next steps of gathering name ideas and planning the nursery!
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